What we lost: Romantic comedies
Who took it: Audiences, Gerard Butler, Tucker Max, Netflix, sequel-based franchises. Vulture charts the steady decline:
In 2002, the top five highest-grossing romantic comedies alone - My Big Fat Greek Wedding, Sweet Home Alabama, Maid in Manhattan, and Two Weeks Notice - collectively took in a whopping $555 million in domestic box office. There were seven rom-coms in the top 100 films of that year, and this septet averaged a $96 million take. In 2008, there were eleven rom-coms in the top 100, with an average domestic gross of $77 million. By 2010, there were fourteen rom-coms in the top 100 highest grossing films - but their average domestic gross had dropped to $53 million. This year the average gross in the top 100 is up a hair to $54 million, but that's based on only four movies that have cracked that list. (Many more did not.)
[M]any execs...believe that audiences are rejecting these light romances because they are increasingly unrelatable given how dating and courtship have morphed in the 2010s. "I think it's because the whole entire dating scene has changed," says the head of production at one major studio...In America, people have never waited longer to get married. For brides, the median marriage age is 26.5 years, and for grooms it's 28.7 years, according to the Pew Research Center's analysis of 2010 U.S. Census data: For both genders, that's about six years higher than it was 50 years ago.
What ever shall we do now: Nothing to be done. The hands of the trend clock cannot be moved back. It probably doesn't even have hands. Why would the trend clock be analog? The only movies about love and romance you can expect to see in the future will make mumblecore look like German Expressionism. Flannel 8-tracks will fall in love with the abstract concept of anxiety. Hands will wring themselves for hours on end in high-definition montages.
What we lost: Indie R&B
Who took it: Sadsack dudes, pensive gentrifiers
What ever shall we do now: Deal with "life in the moment," listen to "Losing You"
What we lost: Books, coffee, smells, satisfaction, nuzzling, cigarettes, carbon paper, human gatherings, relationships, the little plastic sleeve newspapers come in during bad weather
Who took it: Hashtags, "the blogger-Twitter hordes"
Kathleen Parker at the Washington Post wants everyone to remember that paper "is real," not like digital devices, which are "hard and cold to human flesh." I know not what terribly warm and liquid books are pulsing and seething against her hands, but I fear them and welcome their disappearance.
What ever shall we do now: Start watching The Newsroom; smell more things; go back to writing "e-mail" with a hyphen; take comfort in the fact that physical book sales just had their strongest week in three years
What we lost: Archbishop of Canterbury Rowan Williams
Who took it: The Rt. Rev. Justin Welby, women, gays.
In his final broadcast before his departure, Dr Williams defends his outspoken attacks on successive governments, including his strong opposition to the Iraq war.
"Risking unpopularity, taking the flak, is what archbishops are here for - it is the stuff of the job," he says. "It is something you realise the more you work here, that maybe Britain benefits from having someone to get angry with, and that compared to my predecessors I have got off lightly."
In 2008 Dr Williams was widely criticised for suggesting that the adoption of some aspects of Islamic Sharia law in Britain "seems unavoidable", although in an interview earlier this year he admitted he had "failed to find the right words" and "succeeded in confusing people".
What ever shall we do now: Mourn in ashes and sackcloth. Where will we find the equal of a man who once said "it is very easy to be despondent about the church" while leading that very church? After trying and failing one last time to broker an agreement on the status of female bishops, Williams had this to say at the end of his tenure: "I know that I've, at various points, disappointed both conservatives and liberals...Most of them are quite willing to say so, quite loudly. That's just been a background to almost everything, a pretty steady 'mood music'." No pope, no imam, no goateed megachurchian can ever hope to match Rowan's delightfully depressive approach. He and his eyebrows will be missed.
What we lost: Luxury developments
Who took it: A.I.G., a deceased Georgian billionaire's estate, disgruntled investors, the Vanderbilts. "Some brokers fear Fisher Island is missing out on high-priced sales in Miami" may be the greatest sentence ever written in the English language.
"We have the best moat in the world," said Tom Murphy Jr., a resident and chief executive of the Coastal Construction Group.
An aviary on the island houses about a dozen species of birds. A gourmet market sells Russian caviar. The island's day school charges $26,000 a year for tuition and requires children as young as 2 years old to learn Mandarin and Spanish.
The best aviary in the world, bound by the best moat in the world, all lying unused and wasted. Withered trilingual urchins wander the island, desperate to increase their real estate holdings, denied even the smallest condo development.
What ever shall we do now: Wait and pray. "Fisher Island Holdings, the developer, is hoping to begin sales of Palazzo del Sol, the next 10-story building in line to be built, by the middle of 2013," according to the sales director of Fisher Island Real Estate. Build your own island. Ford the moat and take Fisher by force.
[Image via AP]